This article was originally written for the April 2022 edition of Hemispheric News, delivered as part of the Hemispheric Views podcast member bonus program, One Prime Plus.
I love to use native software but it feels like I’m the last of the troops that has been put on the final line of defence, guarding against the marauding ‘web apps’.
It appears that most users are more than happy to load a copy of Google Chrome and run a bunch of web apps in fullscreen mode. This is what I see in my day job, as companies use Xero, Hubspot and any other number of web apps to run their companies.
On a personal level things aren’t much better with Google Apps, YNAB, etc. sharing the platform with a growing number of Electron apps such as Discord, 1Password and Slack (and, of course, Obsidian).
So I end up feeling like one of a declining number of people who prefer an app that utilises the native architecture of the client platform. Either people don’t care or they actively prefer web apps.
I actually think it’s the former (users not caring) combined with development houses caring more about cost management and not actually putting the user first. If they were willing to invest development resources in native applications I am sure people would enjoy them. But they don’t care enough to force developers' hands.
So we end up with the best app to meet profit targets — not the best app.
As much as Apple invests in outlandishly fast and impressive hardware, what’s the point if all it means is that the platform can successfully run more Chrome tabs? Is that really what we have arrived at?
Apple is not helping by not investing in their own first platform applications, either. They are creating meh apps across macOS as they attempt to consolidate development efforts through shared Swift/Catalyst implementations. Nothing seems better or more powerful than it was a decade ago.
I hope that now Apple has its hardware house in order, that it can focus on its software.
I’d love to hold off the web app barbarians at the gate just a few years longer.